National ban on Dismemberment Abortion, Based on National Right to Life Model, Introduced in Congress


Editor's Note: This was originally posted on

WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) heralded today’s introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation to nationally ban dismemberment abortion, an abortion method that involves using steel tools to tear apart a well-developed unborn child by brute force. vfoxxThe Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 3515) was introduced in the House by Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a veteran legislator who is co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, with Vicki Hartzler (R-Mo.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Trent Franks (R-Az.) as original cosponsors. The legislation is based on a model state bill proposed by National Right to Life, which has already been enacted this year in Kansas and Oklahoma. The bill defines “dismemberment abortion” as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off . . .” deabortionThis definition largely overlaps with what those in the abortion trade currently refer to as “dilation and evacuation” or “dilation and extraction” (D&E) abortions. The method is commonly used starting at about 14 weeks of pregnancy, and extending into the third trimester. In his dissent in the 2000 case of Stenberg v. Carhart, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote regarding D&E abortion: “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.” The bill explicitly permits a dismemberment abortion if necessary to save a mother’s life. The bill also says that it does not limit abortions performed in cases of rape or incest, if performed by a method other than dismemberment abortion. “No unborn child should be subjected to the brutality of having her arms and legs torn off with steel tools that grasp, tear, and crush,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. A medical illustration of a D&E dismemberment abortion is available here. The testimony of Anthony Levatino, M.D., before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in May 2013, vividly describing the dismemberment abortions that he once performed in great numbers, is available in print form here and in video here.  

Rep. Renee Ellmers acts to block pro-life bill

Editor's Note: This was originally posted on January 2015 ellmersThe U.S. House of Representatives was on track to vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act last Thursday, the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, while hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers gathered in our nation’s capital for the March for Life. Instead, a small group of lawmakers, the most prominent of whom was Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, of North Carolina (CD-2), led a successful effort to derail the bill’s progress, ensuring that it was pulled from the agenda. She attempted to weaken the language of the bill and prevent it from reaching the floor for a vote entirely. Rather than take up a bill with weakened language, leadership in the U.S. House facilitated a vote upon a different pro-life bill, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7). The bill, which we wholeheartedly support, passed by a vote of 242-179 and now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration. Last fall, Rep. Ellmers campaigned on a pro-life platform and, in 2013, voted for the exact same Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Indeed, she is still claiming to be a champion for life – a particularly disingenuous claim following her plea to fellow lawmakers not to take up pro-life legislation:   I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week….We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again, we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward. The first vote we take, or the second vote or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know the millennials, social issues just aren’t important [to them].”   Ellmers’ concerns about upsetting millennials (those aged 15-35) are bizarre considering the consistent support for protecting pain-capable unborn children found among the younger generation. A Knights of Columbus/Marist poll from December 2013 actually found higher support for the bill among millennials than among any other generation: 72% of millennials supported the bill versus 66% of all adults polled. The hundreds of thousands of young people present at last week’s March for Life, too, demonstrate just how important protecting unborn children is to millennials. Though Rep. Ellmers is to blame for the vote not taking place to protect thousands of pain-capable unborn children, the congresswoman continues to present herself as a staunch defender of life. A legislator who pays lip service to the cause while actively opposing legislation to protect pain capable unborn children is no friend of our movement. Rep. Renee Ellmers has betrayed the pro-life people of this state and country – and more importantly – she has betrayed the unborn children who die from painful abortions every day. North Carolina Right to Life and pro-lifers will not forget what Renee Ellmers has done.

Background on Renee Ellmers’s public statements on life and her recent actions.

ellmersbwAs a candidate in 2010, Renee Ellmers said she believed that “unborn children should be protected by law, and that abortion should not be permitted under any circumstances.”  But now, Congresswoman Ellmers is trying to torpedo legislation that would protect pain-capable unborn children in the sixth month of pregnancy and later! The pro-life Republican leadership of the U. S. House of Representatives has announced plans for the House to vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) on Thursday, January 22 – the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand, and the big day of the March for Life in Washington.  This vital bill would extend general protection from abortion to pain-capable unborn children nationwide beginning at 20 weeks fetal age.  The legislation is strongly supported by National Right to Life, North Carolina Right to Life, and numerous other pro-life organizations. In a shocking development, on Friday, January 16, Congreswoman Ellmers launched a public attack on the bill.  In a published interview with National Journal, Ellmers confirmed that she is urging the House Republican leadership not to bring the bill up for a vote. ” I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week….We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again, we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward,” Ellmers said in an interview. “the first vote we take, or the second vote or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know the millennials, social issues just aren’t important [to them].” [A “millennial” is someone in the 15-35 age group.] Nor is this only a dispute about timing:  according to other published reports, Ellmers has been pressuring House leaders to weaken the language of the bill. You can read National Right to Life’s statement on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act here. _ Update as of Tuesday, January 20, 2015: In an extraordinary action, at about 2:30 PM EST today (Tuesday, Jan. 20), Congresswoman Renee Ellmers went to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and formally cancelled her co-sponsorship of the major priority of National and North Carolina Right to Life and other major pro-life groups — the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36)! This means that Congresswoman Ellmers personally sought and received permission to remove her name from this vital pro-life bill — even though she voted for exactly the same legislation on June 18, 2013! The National Right to Life office in Washington says that withdrawal of cosponsorship on any kind of bill is very rare, and that such an action has occurred on pro-life legislation only a handful of times in the last three decades. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to conduct a preparatory procedural vote on the issue on Wednesday, Jan. 21, and will then vote on whether to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) on Thursday, Jan. 22. Click here to sign the petition to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR 36) and appeal to Rep. Ellmers to cease and desist efforts to torpedo the legislation.

National Right to Life Endorses Rep. George Holding Over Rep. Renee Ellmers

holdingfam Editors note: this was originally posted on National Right to Life News Today on March 21, 2016 WASHINGTON – National Right to Life, the federation of state right-to-life organizations, today announced its endorsement of Congressman George Holding in the June 7 Republican primary for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Holding is in a primary contest with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, due to a redrawing of district lines resulting from a federal lawsuit. In a letter to Holding announcing their endorsement, National Right to Life leaders commended Holding for “maintaining a 100 percent pro-life voting record” during his years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. National Right to Life also noted that Holding “co-sponsored and consistently supported the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), landmark legislation to protect unborn children at 20 weeks (i.e., after the fifth month), a point by which the unborn child is capable of experiencing great pain when being killed by dismemberment of other late abortion methods.” The letter notes that Rep. Holding’s record on that bill “contrasts sharply with the words and actions of your likely primary opponent, Rep. Renee Ellmers. There is no member of Congress in recent memory who has done greater harm to a major piece of pro-life legislation, while claiming to be pro-life, than Renee Ellmers.” “National Right to Life encourages all voters in the 2nd District to return Rep. Holding to the House to continue to work to advance vital pro-life public policies,” said Douglas Johnson, National Right to Life legislative director. “Great weight should be given to Rep. Holding’s consistent pro-life record, as contrasted with the extraordinary public attacks launched by Congresswoman Ellmers against the 20-week abortion ban.” The full text of the National Right to Life letter endorsing Congressman Holding is available here.